Business leaders have two major responsibilities – to look after today’s business and to plan for the future growth of their organization. Future planning is crucial if you want to take advantage of opportunities and anticipate necessary actions for growth and success.
The reverse is also true – failing to plan for the future can have dire consequences in terms of lost opportunities and contribute to failure. According to Marcelene Anderson, strategic management specialist with Raven Strategic Consulting, preparing for the future is typically ignored because of a pre-occupation with current issues and problems.
Planning is essential for an organization to focus its future direction and the outcomes or results it wishes to achieve. According to management gurus and business leaders alike, strategic planning is regarded as one of the most essential management tools. One of the leading causes of business failure is not having a strategic plan or an execution process in place to achieve results over time.
- Developing a strategic and operational plan contributes 20% to the achievement of results.
- Successful implementation of the plan contributes another 40%.
- Building a high performance organization is that achieves results day to day contributes the remaining 40%.
Source: Stephen Haines, Author, Systems Thinking Approach to Strategic Management
Focus • Alignment • Action > Results
A strategic plan serves as a roadmap to the future, providing direction and focus while aligning the organizational team, starting from the Chief and Council and senior management to front line leadership and employees. The importance of having a clear direction is captured by the quotation, “If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else,” Laurence J. Peters.
A good plan establishes the specific results an organization intends to achieve, including a set of interrelated core strategies and a clear course of action to realize the intended results. The core strategies serve as organizational glue when implemented across the organization, resulting in horizontal and vertical alignment.
In addition, a strategic plan helps the various departments/work units within an organization to align their work activities. The use of the core strategies and strategic goals ensures consistency across the organization while allowing each department the flexibility in implementing those strategies.
Planning is not enough
Many organizations develop a plan but fail to reap the benefits of it because they focus solely on planning as an end in itself. What is missing is a consistent Implementation System to avoid implementation breakdown, frustration and failure.
“What is needed is an integrated strategic management system to lead, manage and change an organization in a conscious, well planned, and integrated way”, says Anderson.
To determine the effectiveness of your planning process, ask yourself:
- Do we have a mission, vision and values statement that reflects that future we want to realize in the next 3-5 years and that takes into consideration the trends likely to impact your organization?
- Do we have measurable outcomes to monitor progress towards your mission and vision?
- Do we determine the gap between where we want to be (your ideal future) from where we are today?
- Do you we have a manageable number of core strategies, 3-7, to close the gaps?
- Do you we cascade the plan down through the organization, ensuring that all functions are aligned with the plan?
- Does each of our departments have a 3-year business plan aligned with the organization’s core strategies and a one-year operational plan?
- Do we review and refresh our strategic plan at least annual basis to ensure it is current?
Benefits of a Strategic Management System:
- A shared roadmap to the organization’s desired future, providing direction and focus.
- Alignment across your organization, from top to bottom and all functions.
- Specific measurable results or goals that serve as mileposts to track progress over time.
- Core strategies that close the gap between your desired future and the current situation.
- Operational plans that realize results over time.
- Timely execution of plans.
- Accountability for results.
- Continuously improvement of processes to realize results.
- An update to-date road map to the future.
- Enhanced leadership to take charge of change and achieve results.
- Motivated teams and individual performers.
Want to increase the effectiveness of your plans to achieve results? Contact me:
Marcelene@ravenstrategic.com • (226) 503-8583